The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most well known and watch horse race. The race is dubbed ‘The Race That Stops a Nation’ as the whole of Australia pauses at 3PM on the first Tuesday in November to watch the 3200m Handicap.
The Melbourne Cup was first run in 1861 in which Archer won the race.
Watch the replay of last years Melbourne Cup below:
The prize money for the Melbourne Cup is $6.2million dollars up from $4.6million in 2004.
Apparently, horse racing is among the most ancient sports. Its origin dates back to around 4500BC in Central Asia among the nomadic tribesmen who were the first people to domesticate horses. From then, the sport would grow as a sport for the Royals. As a professional sport, horse racing in the UK is traced back to soon after the English knights returned from Crusades with Arab horses. The horses were bred with the English horses, producing the Thoroughbred horse, which is used for horse racing even today. The growth of the sport was interrupted briefly by Oliver Cromwell after he banned the sport.
However, when King Charles II took the reins (between 1660 and 1685), the sport started developing again. He had his horses, and he held races between 2 horses on open fields, or private courses and winners got prizes. The first horse racing event took place in Newmarket. Between 1702 and 1714, during Queen Anne’s reign, horse racing involved several horses and spectators would even place bets. By 1740, the popularity and influence of the sport had grown so much among the masses that an act geared towards restricting racing, apparently for the good of the nation was passed. In 1750, the royal patronage held a meeting at Newmarket, and this saw the formation of the Jockey
Club aimed at controlling English horse racing. Admiral Rous would later establish a racing calendar, doing away with match racing and organizing handicap races. In 1791, in Ascot, the first handicap was run. At about this time, the Classics were established, and the first Derby took place in 1780. Horse racing grew so fast, and 1833 saw the birth of the French Jockey Club followed by the Australian Jockey Club in 1840. Jumps racing began in Ireland in the 18th century. It was run to up to 5 mile-distances, and it featured obstacles. The race would later be called steeplechasing, and it soon developed to England where the first Grand National was run in 1839.
The National Hunt Committee was established in 1866 to boost the sport’s popularity that was beginning to decline. The Cheltenham Festival for the jump season later took place. In 1957, Whitebread sponsored a major competition, the Gold Cup. A horse racing pattern was established in 1967, and the sport has continued to spread and grow in popularity since then. Some major highlights of the horse racing calendar include the Aintree Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival (over jumps), and the Glorious Goodwood and the Royal Ascot (on the flat).